Homebuilder was a blunder - spend the money retrofitting social housing instead

(The Guardian, 9 Jun 2020) We could create a virtuous circle of investment and cost savings, alongside warmer, healthier homes

Right now, we are choosing the course of our economic recovery. We can choose to stimulate the economy in the short term, make huge progress on climate and take care of vulnerable people.

Last week’s homebuilder policy was a blunder, leaving too many benefits on the table, and handing out budget treats to the wrong people and projects.

For less than the $25,000 homebuilder grant we could retrofit a social housing property. On average this would cover solar, a hot water heat pump, upgrades to thermal performance (through underfloor, cavity or rooftop insulation, sealing and draught-stopping), a good-sized battery, and replacing gas heating with electric.

The benefits are clear and go further than immediate economic stimulus. As the thinktank ClimateWorks found, upgrading and electrifying our housing stock is a powerful climate lever. That’s already happening for a lot of middle class housing, but our clean energy revolution is leaving too many people behind.